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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Shakespeare is usually thought about—too compartmentally—as a dramatist, a sonneteer, and the author of two short long poems. As his career developed, however, he was also called upon to write elegies and epitaphs. This chapter locates and revisits a number of such poems, that hover at the edge of the canon, including the Stanley epitaphs at Tong, the lines on Shakespeare’s gravestone in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford, and ‘The Phoenix and Turtle’. That extraordinary elegy-epitaph is returned to its place in Robert Chester’s Loves Martyr (1601), a volume with a Welsh context that highlights the role of memorial poetry in constituting Shakespeare’s authorial identity not just during his lifetime (as in certain of his sonnets) but posthumously, when elegies celebrating his achievement were published by such writers as Ben Jonson and Leonard Digges.

Keywords: Shakespeare, elegy, epitaph, sonnets, memorials, funerals, Wales

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